Thursday, July 08, 2004

King Arthur

King Arthur

I saw King Arthur yesterday at the movies, matinee style. Movie matinee prices are higher than I remember evening prices being ten years ago ($6.50). Is that inflation? We haven't had inflation in years. These movies are getting expensive to make though so I suppose expensive to watch.

So I saw this movie because I'm an Arthur nut. I have to see all the interpretations Hollywood does and this one was watchable. It had a very 13th Warrior feel to it which is a good thing and this particular version of the Arthur tale was an interesting one. My jury is still out on whether or not I liked it.

One of the latest theories historians have come up with is that King Arthur was of the Roman Empire, which is very possible given the time and location. The word Arthur was a Roman military position (Artus in Latin I think?) so they're beginning to suspect the famous King was Roman given his dress, chilvary, architecture of his buildings and so on.

In King Arthur, they wanted to keep it realistic, at least as far as medieval stories go. Merlin has a place in the movie but there is no "black" magic at work. Just superior intellect and inventiveness which given time and word of mouth evolves through legend as something of the divine.

Guinevere's character was probably the most creative aspect and greatest division from the usual Arthur tale. She was Picti, though the movie called their race something else I couldn't understand but I recognize them as the Picti race from other Arthur stories and Britain's history. The Picti evolved into present day Scots and in this movie as well as many Arthurian tales were a warrior race indigenous to Britain who were pushed to the far north and behind a wall, probably by the Romans, to slow their advance on the rest of the British island. Merlin was also Picti, same race as Guinevere's, in fact they knew each other.

A third race was introduced to the movie, the Saxons who the Roman-allied Arthur and his knights as well as the Picti called their enemy. Since my enemy's enemy is my friend, the two clashing groups team up against the Saxons who have no regard for Britain or any of its people. See History of Britain for more detail on British History.

I don't have a review of the movie because of my hobby with the Arthurian tale would certainly interfere with my ability to review it as any movie, but of all the Arthurian movies I've seen, I would rate King Arthur second best behind Monty Python's Search For the Holy Grail, which isn't saying much since Holy Grail is meant to be a parody (you think?). I didn't much care for Excalibur and First Knight just plain sucked.